With cannabis legalization fast approaching, one big question hangs heavy in the air: What happens to the half a million Canadians with simple possession convictions once it is legalized?
That’s where the Cannabis Amnesty campaign comes in- it fights to right the historical wrongs of cannabis prohibition through education and advocacy.
Earlier today, licensed producer Aurora Cannabis announced that it was contributing $50,000 to the Cannabis Amnesty campaign, saying in a press release:
“More than 500,000 Canadians will continue to carry the burden of criminal records from simple possession offenses, many of them from marginalized communities.
Without pardons and record expungement, the negative impact of these records will continue to limit their ability to find housing or employment, to travel, or volunteer.”
No matter how you feel about the licensed producer system and the wholesale monopoly of cannabis by the provincial governments, it’s great that Aurora is going out of its way to fight for cannabis amnesty because it’s the right thing to do. There are many Canadians from all walks of life that have cannabis possession convictions, and that includes many of the cannabis activists and pioneers who have fought so hard to get us to where we’re at today.
Some of the more cynical among us may be pointing out that while that’s great and all, it’s also a very good PR move for Aurora, and there’s no arguing with that. Aurora has been very busy lately with various PR blitzes that range from its sponsoring of the Aurora Illumination Series, a country-wide series of free concerts, to its support and high-profile sponsoring of events like Vancouver Pride- surefire ways to gain some positive brand associations while earning some progressive stripes to boot.
Cannabis Amnesty was thrilled by Aurora’s contribution as lawyer and Cannabis Amnesty campaign director Annamaria Enenajor said:
“Aurora’s commitment to social responsibility makes it a perfect ally for this important work.
We believe that adding Aurora’s voice to our own will allow us to shine a brighter light on the urgent need for cannabis amnesty. Granting pardons for cannabis possession will directly help over half a million Canadians, and benefit our economy at the same time.
It’s a no-brainer and we are looking to work closely with legislators in Ottawa to make this happen.”
While the Liberal government has said that it will look into amnesty for simple cannabis possession, a spokesperson for Justice Canada told NOW Toronto back in May that “the government will examine how to make things fairer for Canadians who have been previously convicted for minor possession offences… once Bill C-45 is enacted”, so it looks like we’ll have to wait until at least Oct. 17 before we hear anything definite.
If you would like to get involved with Cannabis Amnesty by signing the petition, funding the campaign, or just looking for more information, check out the website at https://www.cannabisamnesty.ca/.
In other recent cannabis amnesty news, California passed a bill last week to erase or reduce tens of thousands of marijuana criminal convictions, according to The Star.